Teacher Jane Muse brings history alive

March 01, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

Editor's note: This is the sixth in a monthly series highlighting excellent educators in Washington County elementary schools. Next month: Hickory Elementary School.

History really does come alive every year in the classroom of Jane Muse, a fifth-grade teacher at Greenbrier Elementary School.

The students portray figures from the Revolutionary War. One student will be randomly chosen to play Paul Revere, who delivers his warning that the British are coming. Another plays former President George Washington, Muse said.

For the Boston Tea Party, the students drop boxes of tissues on the floors, she said.

Muse said she strives to keep all of the students actively learning.

"I do not believe in any wallflowers. Every kid has to be actively involved," she said.

Muse said she believes students remember more if they are entertained.

"I am very animated. They laugh a lot. I am very entertaining," Muse said.

While amusing students, Muse also is constantly referring back to lessons they recently learned, increasing the chances they will remember them, she said.


"I like to keep the kids guessing," she said.

"They never know what is going to happen next," Muse said. "You just look for those moments when you can inspire them."

Muse, 40, has lived in Washington County since she was 4. She graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1981.

Even when just a child, she knew she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up.

She has taught at Greenbrier Elementary for 17 years. She likes the school's small size, since it allows more teamwork, she said.

She said she likes the grade level she teaches because she is working with children who have learned to become more independent.

She loves seeing "the sign of acknowledgment that they have been learning," she said.

When students are not learning, she works with them after school or during lunch, she said.

As she was interviewed in the classroom recently, "snowflakes" hung from the classroom ceiling. The students made the snowflakes out of the plastic rings on six-pack holders, she said.

Principal Elaine Semler said Muse is a great teacher because she manages to meet all of the children's needs.

"There is not a child in here that she does not care about," Semler said.

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